2017 Summer Training Cruise

Emergency Contact

Emergency contact to the Ship is available.  If you need to be in touch with your student while s/he is on cruise in the event of an EMERGENCY (death or serious illness of a family member for example) please call Campus Safety at 207-326-2479 or Deidra Davis at 207-326-2138. Deidra or Campus Safety staff will contact the ship and the individual you need to speak with will call you back. You will need to provide the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your contact information
  3. The name of the person you need to speak with on the ship
  4. Your relationship to the person you need to reach
  5. The nature of the emergency

This information will be communicated to the Commandant of Midshipmen who will discreetly arrange for your student to call you back. This process may take a few hours, depending on the location of the ship and the time of the emergency.

Communication

This Cruise Blog is the most important hub of communication for family and friends. When information is posted here, we will send out a message via our facebook site (Maine Maritime Academy Cruise) for facebook users. This site will track the progress of the ship, allowing parents and friends access to a map of the TSSOM’s course, summary of activities, highlights, stats (Latitude and Longitude, speed, passage distance, etc), weather, pictures, and more.

Students will be able to download everything that gets published on the website at the end of the training Cruise, but they will not necessarily see comments posted on facebook (and this blog site does not support commenting).

Updates to the site happens at various times, and in the event that there are technical difficulties, or other emergent situations, updates may not get posted on any particular day.

Rules for the Training Cruise

The Training Cruise Manual covers everything from discipline to daily routine, watch position description to meal hours. The Training Cruise Manual can also be viewed on the Ship’s internal network during the training Cruise. Students are required to attend Personal Development classes prior to the training Cruise where additional information is given, such as a list of mailing addresses.

Money

It is recommended that students carry no more cash than they plan to spend in the Ship’s Store. ATM/Debit cards and major credit cards are recommended for use in ports. Foreign ports use foreign currency, and banking hours will vary in these countries. Most merchants in foreign ports will accept US currency or traveler’s checks, but it is extremely unlikely the exchange rate will be close to the current bank rate.

Due to international fraud issues, you should contact your student’s bank and let them know the dates and locations that they will be out of the country and ask that they DO NOT place a hold on the student’s account. MANY banks will place a hold on the account the moment their debit or credit card is used out of the country and due to time differences it is often difficult for the student to contact the bank to assure them it is actually the student using their own card while on training cruise!

There is also the chance of losing money on board or in a port, or theft. If your student has no alternative but to bring cash for spending money in the ports, that money can be locked in the safe in the Ship’s Office. The Ship will attempt to have a representative from a local bank come on board to exchange money, but this does not always happen, and it varies from port to port.

ATM account access is important! All ports normally offer ATM access, but access will depend on the ATM banking network with which your bank is affiliated. Money received through an ATM will be in that country’s currency and at the current bank exchange rate. Check with your bank regarding the ports listed as to bank charges for this service. Sometimes the charges can be as much as $10 per transaction. Regardless, it is recommended that your student make one transaction per port if possible.

Internet Banking can be helpful. If your bank offers Internet Banking, you can keep track of your student’s account balance and it is updated {usually} the next day. You can see if funds are needed and add those funds prior to the next port if desired. It is not uncommon for some students to spend $250 in one port, while others may not spend $200 on the entire training Cruise. You know the habits of your student and should be able to judge their money needs accordingly. Keeping track of their account activity online has beneficial points for them and you.

Credit Cards for spending in foreign ports are really the best way to go. Make sure the credit card is issued with a chip-enabled, or smart card.  This is a European standard that is becoming the norm.  Most merchants accept either VISA or MasterCard and you will get the current bank exchange rate.  Consider supplying your student with a low-limit credit card in his or her name. This can provide a money source when an ATM was not available. To cover bases, a low limit will alleviate the possibility of theft on a parent’s higher limit card and will also establish credit for a student.  Note: Be sure to read the fine print and watch out for some cards that may charge set-up fees. (Note the fine print. Sometimes the set-up fees will be taken from the credit card, which means your student actually has a lower limit.)

Phone Calls

Students can call from ports. Phone cards are the least expensive way to call home from any port and should be purchased prior to the onset of the training Cruise. Be sure your student’s phone card has international phone privileges (AT & T phone cards seem to work in all ports). In the event of emergency, students will be able to call using the ship’s satellite phone.

The Regimental Staff has had very good luck with the low-cost phone cards sold at Sam’s Club or Wal-Mart. Note that the number of minutes for a phone card will vary in foreign ports (i.e. The 600 minute SAM’s / Wal-Mart cards were good for 200 minutes in Ireland and 300 minutes in England. The current time available on your card is given at the beginning of each call). Using pre-paid cards is always much less expensive than collect calls and your student does not need a pocket full of change. Check also with your cell phone company regarding charges to switch to international service.

Letters from Home

Mail is slow, so please plan ahead. You should expect it to take at least 1 week for your letter to reach the port agent. If you send mail early, the agent will hold it until TSSOM’s arrival. No packages should be sent to students while on the training Cruise; letters only. Emergency or medical packages only can be sent via MMA Campus Safety. FAX and emails to the ship are unreliable and emergency communication will go through the Campus Safety Office (207-326-2479 – Ryan Kuhl, Director of Campus Safety). Use port addresses listed on this website. Student ship email addresses will be arranged ahead of time, but there are limitations on usage.

Email

Email should be used for text communication only. Your student will not be able to send or receive attachments, so please do not send any, as they will be rejected.  The Academy pays by MB for data transmitted via our satellite connection and sending photos or other material other than personal communication will quickly overwhelm our budget for communications.  Email is sent off the ship several times a day since we do not maintain a continuous satellite connection.

Alcohol Use

Alcohol laws/restrictions vary from country to country and the Academy/ship does not have control over local restriction, but possession of alcohol aboard TS STATE OF MAINE is clear. It is prohibited on board the ship. The policy aboard the ship is consistent with that of the US Coast Guard and can be found in the Training Cruise Manual. This is real life. Students returning to the ship from port liberty can and will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test if it is suspected that they are intoxicated. If a student or staff/crew member refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, they will very likely be sent home. We encourage parents to review the alcohol policies. Please talk seriously with your student. The cost to come home from a European port with no notice due to a disciplinary matter can exceed $5,000.  Additionally, the student receives no refund for cruise and must repeat the entire cruise. This kind of mistake can cost a student over $10,000.

Post-Cruise Maintenance

Students may voluntarily sign up for 1 week of summer maintenance on board the ship following the training Cruise. The ship’s officers will select the maintenance crew from those who volunteer. Summer maintenance dates and availability will be announced before the ship departs.

Family Day Cruise

This event is provided for family members (MAXIMUM of TWO) of our 2/C students only. Information on eligibility and how to sign up will be provided by the Dean of Students in mid June.  The date for Family Cruise is Monday, July 31, 2017.

Tools

All students enrolled in Marine Engineering Operations, Marine Engineering Technology, Marine Systems Engineering, and Marine Transportation Operations on the annual training cruise are required to have a tool kit. This tool kit is required to be with the student during all Maintenance Programs (Semester and Summer Maintenance) and during 4/C and 2/C Cruises.

Please make sure your student has the tools required.

Student Summer Parking

Students may leave a vehicle parked on campus while on cruise, but parking is extremely limited.  A set of keys to the vehicle must be left with MMA Campus Safety. All vehicles left on campus must be properly inspected and insured.